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Linux

Do You Really Need Antivirus Software on Linux?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Security

There’s a myth that Linux doesn’t have viruses. but for most people, it’s true that they don’t need an antivirus on Linux. How can both those claims be true? Do you really need antivirus on your Linux machine?

Although there have been cases like EvilGnome, a piece of malware that made headlines last year for infecting Linux desktops, they are ultra-rare. The short answer is that thanks to being more securely designed, better maintained, and, truth be told, less popular, Linux ends up being safer than Windows.

There’s no simple yes or no answer to the question of our title, though, as it depends on the user and their needs.

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Also: Security updates for Wednesday

Linux needs easier bug reporting tools

Filed under
Linux

I get that developers need specific information for bug reports, but in many cases, the extraction of that information is beyond the pay grade of the average user. Take, for instance, the backtrace. The backtrace command is a powerful tool that allows the user to start an application while gathering specific information about why a program might not be running properly. This is not a command built for the new user. I've been using Linux since the late 1990s and I have to remind myself how the tool is used (because I don't use it often).

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Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Screencasting – Week 13

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Linux

This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

Given the multimedia strengths of the RPI4, I’ve spent a few weeks covering video streaming, then examining the viability of the RPI4 to play locally stored video, before turning to examining the RPI4 as a home theater. Continuing this theme, for this week’s blog I look at the RPI4 as a screencaster (i.e. screen recording).

In the field of open source video recording, my preferred application is OBS Studio. It’s a truly first class cross-platform application that’s excellent for both video recording and live streaming. Open source at its very best. Sadly, the software is not available in the Raspbian repositories. I did expend considerable effort trying to compile the software on the RPI4. While I got fairly close, I wasn’t able to successfully build the software. If you’ve got OBS Studio running on the RPI4, I’d love to hear from you.

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Screenshot your Linux system configuration with Bash tools

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Linux

There are many reasons you might want to share your Linux configuration with other people. You might be looking for help troubleshooting a problem on your system, or maybe you're so proud of the environment you've created that you want to showcase it to fellow open source enthusiasts.

You could get some of that information with a cat /proc/cpuinfo or lscpu command at the Bash prompt. But if you want to share more details, such as your operating system, kernel, uptime, shell environment, screen resolution, etc., you have two great tools to choose: screenFetch and Neofetch.

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Screencasts/Audiocasts/Shows: GNU/Linux Laptop Screencast, LINUX Unplugged and Linux Headlines

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • [VIDEO] Linux Laptop Screencast

    A few weeks ago, I wrote about tuning up my Linux laptop for writing. Via YouTube, here’s a very quick (20 minute) screencast. Enjoy!

  • Mystical Users | LINUX Unplugged 337

    We make an appeal to keep Linux powerful and avoid the Macification of the desktop, and review the latest developer-focused XPS 13.

    Plus some community news that's getting missed, picks, and more.

  • 2020-01-21 | Linux Headlines

    Canonical announces a cloud delivery suite for Android apps, EarlyOOM is on hold for the next Fedora, and ProtonMail open sources its VPN clients.

All new Chromebooks will get at least 8 years of automatic updates

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

One of the nice things about buying a Google Chromebook is that the operating system receives automatic security and feature updates delivered straight from Google — which means that it’ll stay up to date years after your Android phone stops receiving official updates.

But up until recently, Google only promised 5 to 6.5 years of updates… which might seem fine if you spend $200 or less on a cheap Chrome OS laptop, but which can be rather frustrating if you drop $999 or more on a premium model.

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Audiocasts/Shows/Screencasts: Software Freedom Podcast, Jim Salter, Test and Code, PCLinuxOS 2020.01 Screencast

Filed under
GNU
Linux
  • Software Freedom Podcast #4 about REUSE with Carmen Bianca Bakker

    In the monthly Software Freedom Podcast we talk with people who have inspiring ideas about software freedom. In this episode, we talk with Carmen Bianca Bakker about the REUSE project. By this we are covering the very broad topic of software licensing and the problems there, which REUSE is able to solve with three simple steps.
    OPUS FeedMP3 Feed

  • Brunch with Brent: Jim Salter | Jupiter Extras 48

    Brent sits down with Jim Salter, co-host of Jupiter Broadcasting’s TechSNAP and technology reporter at Ars Technica. We explore his relationship with computers via the US Navy, when code has it’s place in either proprietary or open source licensing, the value in being a social gadfly, and Jim’s motivations behind his writing and who he is hoping to reach and inspire.

  • Test and Code: 98: pytest-testmon - selects tests affected by changed files and methods

    pytest-testmon is a pytest plugin which selects and executes only tests you need to run. It does this by collecting dependencies between tests and all executed code (internally using Coverage.py) and comparing the dependencies against changes. testmon updates its database on each test execution, so it works independently of version control.

    In this episode, I talk with testmon creator Tibor Arpas about testmon, about it's use and how it works.

  • PCLinuxOS 2020.01 overview | So cool ice cubes are jealous.

    In this video, I am going to show an overview of PCLinuxOS 2020.01 and some of the applications pre-installed.

Can the Linux Foundation Speak for Free Software?

Filed under
GNU
Linux

The kindest interpretation of this situation is that the Linux Foundation has a public relations problem that it is unaware of and is overdue to correct. A more cynical interpretation is that, from its very start, the Linux Foundation has been a slow coup, gradually usurping an authority to which it has no right. Ask me on alternate days which one I believe.

Whatever the case, the solutions are the same. A concerted effort to get community members elected to at-large positions might help, although they would still be a minority. Many, too, might not want to legitimize the foundation by participating in it. A more promising response might be to see that community organizations are strengthened to provide a counter-balance, but that would be a slow solution if it worked at all.

I don’t pretend to have an answer. But I believe that free software owes its success to the fact that it is diverse. Centralizing the authority in the community means an end to free software as we know it — and that is something to be avoided at all cost. The very real good that the Linux Foundation does cannot disguise the harm that its orientation may cause.

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Here’s Why Windows 7 Users Should Switch to Linux

Filed under
Linux

Linux has so many different distros

Linux Mint and Zorin OS are just a few Linux distros that are thought to be very Windows-user friendly. This means within no time, you should be up and running.

Other distros like Ubuntu, Suse Linux and offer so much functionality without feeling cluttered.

Many Linux distros are regularly updated. Microsoft might have stopped updating your Windows but if you switch to Linux, you are assured of regular security and feature updates, regardless of which distribution you choose.

Also, if you install your applications from a central repository, all your applications will get updated via system updates. This means your whole computer will always be up to date. This eliminates the need to update each application independently.

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Read Reddit from the Linux terminal

Filed under
Linux

Last year, I brought you 19 days of new (to you) productivity tools for 2019. This year, I'm taking a different approach: building an environment that will allow you to be more productive in the new year, using tools you may or may not already be using.

Taking short breaks is essential in staying productive. One of the places I like to go when taking a break is Reddit, which can be a great resource if you want it to be. I find all kinds of articles there about DevOps, productivity, Emacs, chickens, and some ChromeOS projects I play with. These discussions can be valuable. I also follow a couple of subreddits that are just pictures of animals because I like pictures of animals (and not just chickens), and sometimes after a long work session, what I really need are kitten pictures.

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today's howtos

GameMode 1.5

  • Feral's GameMode 1.5 Now Supports Changing The CPU Governor Differently For iGPUs

    With Feral's GameMode 1.5 the big change facing users is for those running integrated graphics. In a change led by an Intel open-source graphics driver developer, GameMode now supports setting an alternative CPU frequency scaling governor for integrated graphics use-cases. Up to now GameMode has defaulted to always using the "performance" CPU frequency scaling governor for normally delivering the best performance, but for integrated graphics that in some situations can lead to lower performance. Due to the integrated graphics and CPU cores sharing the same power envelope, ramping up the CPU performance can throw the graphics performance out of balance and at least for some games lead to lower performance. So with GameMode 1.5, the user can now opt for "powersave" or an alternative governor instead when using an iGPU.

  • Feral Interactive's open source 'GameMode' system performance booster has a new release

    Feral Interactive don't just port a lot of games to Linux, they also work on some open source bits here and there. One of their projects is GameMode, which just got a new release. GameMode is a "daemon/lib combo for Linux that allows games to request a set of optimisations be temporarily applied to the host OS and/or a game process". In simple terms, it can help ensure your Linux PC is giving the game all it can to run smoothly. Looks like someone new is handling the project too, with Alex Smith having left Feral Interactive.

Mozilla on Privacy Badger, Rust and Digital ID Systems

  • Firefox Extension Spotlight: Privacy Badger

    People can't be expected to understand all of the technically complex ways their online behavior is tracked by hidden entities. As you casually surf the web, there are countless techniques different third party actors use to secretly track your online movement. So how are we supposed to protect our privacy online if we don't even understand how the game works? To help answer this, the good folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a non-profit devoted to defending digital privacy) built Privacy Badger--a browser extension designed to give you highly advanced tracking protection, while requiring you to do nothing more than install it on Firefox. No configuration, no advanced settings, no fuss. Once you have Privacy Badger installed, it automatically scours every website you visit in its relentless hunt for hidden trackers. And when it finds them, blocks them.

  • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 322
  • What could an “Open” ID system look like?: Recommendations and Guardrails for National Biometric ID Projects

    Digital ID systems are increasingly the battlefield where the fight for privacy, security, competition, and social inclusion is playing out. In our ever more connected world, some form of identity is almost always mediating our interactions online and offline. From the corporate giants that dominate our online lives using services like Apple ID and Facebook and Google’s login systems to government IDs which are increasingly required to vote, get access to welfare benefits, loans, pay taxes, get on transportation or access medical care. Part of the push to adopt digital ID comes from the international development community who argue that this is necessary in order to expand access to legal ID. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for “providing legal identity for all, including birth registration” by 2030. Possessing legal identity is increasingly a precondition to accessing basic services and entitlements from both state and private services. For the most marginalised communities, using digital ID systems to access essential services and entitlements from both state and private services are often one of their first interactions with digital technologies. Without these commonly recognized forms of official identification, individuals are at risk of exclusion and denial of services. However, the conflation of digital identity as the same as (or an extension of) “legal identity”, especially by the international development community, has led to an often uncritical embrace of digital ID projects. In this white paper, we survey the landscape around government digital ID projects and biometric systems in particular. We recommend several policy prescriptions and guardrails for these systems, drawing heavily from our experiences in India and Kenya, among other countries. In designing, implementing, and operating digital ID systems, governments must make a series of technical and policy choices. It is these choices that largely determine if an ID system will be empowering or exploitative and exclusionary. While several organizations have published principles around digital identity, too often they don’t act as a meaningful constraint on the relentless push to expand digital identity around the world. In this paper, we propose that openness provides a useful framework to guide and critique these choices and to ensure that identity systems put people first. Specifically, we examine and make recommendations around five elements of openness: multiplicity of choices, decentralization, accountability, inclusion, and participation.

Red Hat/IBM: Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenShift 4.3 and OpenSCAP

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for SAP Solutions on IBM POWER9: An open foundation to power intelligent business decisions

    At Red Hat Summit 2019, we unveiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, the next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, which provides the scale, flexibility and innovation to drive enterprise workloads across the hybrid cloud. Even with the advancements across the platform, we recognize that there’s no singular panacea to overcome every unique IT challenge. To meet these needs, Red Hat delivers specialized offerings built around Red Hat Enterprise Linux to address specific hardware, applications and environment requirements, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 continues this strategy with the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for SAP Solutions on IBM Power Systems (POWER9).

  • OpenShift 4.3: Quay Container Security Integration

    In the Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 Web UI Console, we introduced a new Cluster Overview Dashboard as the landing page when users first log in. The dashboard is there to help users resolve issues more efficiently and maintain a healthy cluster. With the latest 4.3 release, we added an image security section to the cluster health dashboard card. This section will appear on the dashboard when the Container Security Operator gets installed.

  • Deploying OpenSCAP on Satellite using Ansible

    In many environments today, security is one of the top priorities. New information security vulnerabilities are discovered regularly, and these incidents can have a significant impact on businesses and their customers. Red Hat customers I talk to are frequently looking for tools they can use to help evaluate and secure their environments. One of these tools is OpenSCAP, which is included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and can perform compliance and vulnerability scanning on RHEL servers. Satellite makes OpenSCAP easier to use by allowing you to deploy the OpenSCAP agent to hosts, manage the OpenSCAP policies centrally, and to view OpenSCAP reports from the Satellite web interface.